Squeezing More Storage Out of Analytics

MonoSphere has enhanced its storage analytics tool, Storage Horizon 3.7, to
include measuring storage utilization in VMware and Oracle database
environments, plus added support for EMC’s Celerra and IBM’s DS and ESS
arrays.

The one-year-old storage resource management (SRM) offering now also boasts
an automated chargeback feature that gives administrators a clear view about
storage use by clients. The new enhancements provide greater visibility and
stronger control over sprawling storage farms, according to the vendor.

Though storage costs are dropping, good SRM is vital to making sure storage
doesn’t go to waste, say industry experts. After all, no storage is cheap if
it’s being underutilized or left untouched in dark corners.

While SRM tools aren’t new, formal adoption hasn’t been fast and quick for
several reasons, according to Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Storage
Group.

“Research last fall indicates that while 37 percent of enterprises have some
sort of SRM tool, the majority do not,” he told InternetNews.com. One
reason is that many tools are bulky with features and require lots of
expertise. Another is that storage administrators tend to equivocate allocation
and utilization when it comes to storage deployment.

“Storage teams allocate resources and associate that allocation as
utilization, whether it’s actually used or not,” Laliberte explained. This leads
to what he calls a “waterfall” effect as storage environments continue to grow,
along with underutilization.

What many enterprises don’t realize is that SRM tools can push actual storage
utilization from 30 percent to 60 percent, said the analyst.

MonoSphere is one of the newest players in an SRM market sector that already
lists products from Brocade, HP (NYSE: HPQ), IBM (NYSE: IBM), EMC (NYSE: EMC)
and NetApp. Most SRM tools provide insight about space usage and activity
information. Heftier packages also provide data on performance and storage
activity profiles.

“Tools that provide insight into storage space or capacity, as well as
performance and activity usage are important to maximize storage resources
including data footprint reduction, thin-provision, tiered storage, space saving
snapshots and so forth,” Greg Schultz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO,
told InternetNews.com.

According to Laliberte, research indicates that 40 percent of enterprises are
looking to grab a SRM solution this year. One reason is that data loads are growing
at an annual rate of 60 percent, precipitating more storage down the road. An
EMC-sponsored digital universe study reports that 988 billion gigabytes of
digital information will be created in 2010.

MonoSphere said most enterprises have a 30 percent average storage
utilization rate, and that 15 to 40 percent of storage stacks are dark —
meaning that the storage is not being used at all.

“The goal is to make life easier for the storage team and use the resources
wisely,” Frank Kettenstock, MonoSphere’s VP of marketing, told
InternetNews.com. “Research estimates that $25 billion is being spent
each year on hardware and that only 30 percent has data written to it,” he
added.

New storage technologies, such as virtualization, are only making management
and utilization harder to control. That’s why MonoSphere pushed in new support
tied to VMware, said Kettenstock.

The functionality helps storage teams understand what specific devices, such
as VMware file systems and VMware virtual disks, are storing and how much data
is on each device.

The new automated chargeback analysis lets IT automatically analyze storage
asset use by business unit, department, application, and
hardware. Administrators can analyze and set up pre-configured reports that
track unused and under-utilized assets by volume group, free pool report and
dark storage breakdown.

Given increasing database growth, the tool now also supports Oracle
environments. Earlier versions provided MS SQL and Sybase databases analytical
capabilities in addition to MS Exchange. The Oracle “drill down” provides
details and forecasts of table spaces and data files. In MS SQL and Sybase
databases, drill-down provides data on multiple databases, and with Exchange,
users can drill down and access details of public folder rollups and mailbox
rollups.

Such comprehensive analytics, according to analysts, can help enterprise
effectively manage growing storage environments.

“This “SRM technology” is not a magic elixir for storage, but typically the
savings in the first year justifies the cost of a tool,” said
Laliberte. “Getting better data visibility allows for greater efficiencies going
forward,” he added. After all, he added, some enterprises could save a year’s
storage budget if good utilization was in place.

Article courtesy of
InternetNews.com

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